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Kingdoms of Amalur: eight things to do

Stealing! Elves! Blacksmithing! Wolfmen!

Kingdoms! Of! Amalur! Mass Effect 3 aside, it's rapidly shaping up to be this spring's role-playing timesink, with a reported 60 hours in store for those who brave the Faelands.

You'll get 45 minutes out of those sixty hours in the Amalur demo, less the time you'll spend in the tutorial. So, what should you prioritise once the stage-setting concludes and you're tipped into the world itself? We have a few suggestions.

1. Pickpocket everybody
It's easy to glance at Amalur's cover and forget there's a veritable tome of a game lurking beneath. The graphics aren't so hot, and the big-boobed, sharp-lobed, porcelain-skinned aesthetic is about as compelling as cacti on toast. Take the time to touch on every dialogue topic with every individual, and you may be surprised by the depth.

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Don't fight this till you're good and 'ard.

There are books in this game, you know, and while the writing isn't quite as inspired or varied as that of Skyrim, there's a lot of lore to uncover if that's your bag. Don't forget to pickpocket quest-giving NPCs, too, as many of them carry letters, journals and so forth that lend the tasks they'll give you context. Try robbing the guy behind Gorhart's inn, for instance.

2. Visit the Golden Age Alchemy
There's a cheap and cheerful entry-level dungeon crawl to be found just round the corner from Gorhart, in Agnur Farhal. It takes you on a tour of bandit-infested caverns, then spits you out into Ordarath's first region to track down Olde Worlde WMDs. Visit Golden Age Alchemy and speak to the owner about her potion problem. The rewards include a store discount.

3. Recover the Seelie Hood
If you're after bigger rewards, and don't mind dealing with magical lightning traps, visit the Mission of St Odwig above Gorhart and accept the quest to recover the missing brother. You'll find the man north of the road through the forest. He'll agree to return with you to the Mission, providing you help him recover a potent magical artefact from nearby Waterhall Down.

The enemies within aren't especially testing - Boggarts mostly, highly susceptible to flame magic - but there are those aforesaid traps, which inflict both immediate and continual damage. Watch out for suspicious-looking stones and keep your thumb on the roll button.

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4. Find the Wolf Man
Not far into Ordarath's second region (follow the road) you'll find a limping man who thinks he's a wolf. The encounter results in a few of the script's funnier moments, particularly the bit about pants. There's subsequently an exciting battle to be fought with element-themed sprites.

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